BEIJING, July 19 (Xinhua) -- China's State Council, or Cabinet, has ordered authorities to intensify their crackdown on the sale and use of illegal cooking oil in restaurants, according to a circular made public Monday.
The State Council ordered central government departments and local governments to carry out special campaigns to eradicate "gutter oil," which posed "serious food safety risk" to the public, said the circular issued by the General Office of the State Council.
"Gutter oil" is usually made from discarded kitchen waste that has been refined and was once reportedly commonly used by small restaurants.
Although it looks clean, it actually contains toxic substances, including "aflatoxin," which can cause cancer.
The campaign would target places where "gutter oil" was produced.
It would also focus on small restaurants, construction sites and school canteens.
Catering establishments which use the illegal oil could face punishments ranging from suspension of operations to revocation of their business licenses.
The food safety commission under the State Council would analyze the results of the campaign from September to October this year to see whether it had been effective, according to the circular.
As a preventive measure, the State Council also called for reinforced efforts to create standardized collection of kitchen waste.